Amber Elswick, the Walker County preliminary director of the pageant, has been involved with the Cinderella pageant for more than 20 years. She is originally from Oxford, Ala., but moved to Walker County in April 2010. She felt the urge to bring the pageant to Walker County so young girls and women could participate in a pageant that’s not all glitz and glamour.
“The importance [of the pageant] is to allow the young women of Walker County a pageant system that doesn’t focus just on beauty. It focuses on the overall character, as well as the beauty of the girl,” Elswick said. “Most importantly, it provides them scholarship money to help further their education and their careers.”
The Cinderella Pageant was first established in 1976 and had its first international finals in Dallas, Texas.
The Cinderella Pageant is now headquartered in Louisiana.
Girls from ages infant to 26 may be a contestant in the pageant, Elswick said.
There are a number of categories and age divisions. For the Walker County division, girls can compete in the Baby division, Cinderella Tiny Tot, Cinderella Tot and Cinderella Woman. Categories include photogenic, interview, partywear/evening gown modeling, talent and on-stage interview.
Winners from last year’s first Walker County Cinderella Pageant include Khali Ferguson, Overall Baby Winner; Annalee Elswick, Baby Beauty Winner; Khloie Cook, Overall Tiny Tot Winner; Rylee Mae Gray, Overall Tot Winner; Kylie Upton, Tot Beauty Winner and Cover Girl; Dixie Lewis, Overall Woman Winner and Kristal Garrison, Woman Beauty Winner.
Elswick said not only is the program a pageant where girls receive trophies and tiaras, but it is also a scholarship program that allows contestants to win up to $25,000. The state pageant is held every year in June, and the local one will be held in March 2014.
“We are very big on natural beauty. Anyone under age 13 is not allowed to wear makeup,” Elswick said. “They want to see the girls’ natural beauty. So, no glitz. ... The girls win a $100 scholarship at the local level and when they go to state, they win up to $5,000. And, then if they go on to internationals, which is in Las Vegas every August, that’s where they can win up to $25,000 in scholarships.”
For more information on the Cinderella Pageant, Elswick said to check out the North Central Alabama Cinderella Pageant page on Facebook or call her at (256) 283-9559.